Many shrubs need to be trimmed and shaped periodically in order to maintain a healthy plant. One of the most important shrub maintenance tasks is removing leaves from the shrub. This task should be completed at least once per year but can happen more or less depending on how fast your shrub grows. In this article, we will discuss how to remove leaves from a shrub with a rake!
Remove Leaves from a Shrub
What is the best way to get rid of the foliage? Leaves on shrubs can be removed in a number of different ways. A shrub rake is one way to remove leaves from shrubs, and it has many uses:
- leaf removal
- shrub shaping
- removing grasses when sowing seed
Step one: Prepare yourself for leaf removal – before you begin working around any plants it’s best practice to make sure that you are wearing protective clothing including long sleeves, pants, gloves, shoes/boots, etc… Additionally, make sure there is no debris near your shrubs that could get transferred onto them when raking (e.g. rocks, sticks, etc.)
Step two: Get the shrub rake tool ready – if you have a shrub with low to medium height shrubs (up to around five feet) then using an ergonomic shrub rake like this one would be best. However, for taller shrubs, you should use a long-handled shrub rake.
What is the best way to get rid of the foliage?
Many shrubs look nice with a covering of leaves. However, you might want to remove the foliage from shrubs that are planted in your lawn or around flower beds and borders.
If this is the case, use a shrub rake to remove all unwanted leaves from any shrubs growing near paved areas such as paths or patios. You can also use a shrub rake on plants grown in pots, where they will not be damaged by being moved about.
In addition to removing dead leaves from shrubs, many types of shrub rakes have spiky tines at one end which allow you to prune living branches if necessary without causing too much harm. Shrub rakes don’t just help keep things neat and tidy – they can also help a shrub to grow more strongly.
Dispose of autumn leaves
Leaves as a habitat and protective layer
If you have enough space in your garden, you should create a pile of leaves in a back corner that is protected from the wind and is in the sun for as many hours as possible during the day. Numerous beneficial insects and small animals settle here: Hedgehogs hibernate here, while butterflies lay their eggs or toads, beetles and other animals seek shelter from cold winds and frost between the individual leaves. If you create such a pile of leaves, it should not be removed, moved or dug up until next spring so as not to stress and endanger the animals.
Alternatively, spread mulched leaves as a protective layer on flower beds: The ecologically valuable leaf mass protects sensitive roots from frost damage and also regulates soil moisture by preventing premature drying and thus retaining water in the soil for a particularly long time. Make sure that the leaf layer is not too thick, otherwise the risk of rot increases. Whole leaves can also be placed around a flower pot as an insulating layer. Place the tub in a large bag or jute sack and fill the spaces generously with dry leaves.
Leaves in compost
If you have a compost heap or a composter, you can also let some of the fallen leaves decompose into high-quality humus. Here it depends on a correct preparation as well as an optimal mixing ratio. Experts recommend that compost should consist of a maximum of 20% leaves, so as not to unnecessarily prolong the rotting process. The leaves should first be shredded and then mixed with other organic materials, such as shrubbery residues, kitchen waste, twigs, and lawn clippings.
It has proven successful to mix leaves from different types of woody plants in the composter. For each cubic meter of compost, you should mix in about four kilograms of horn meal to speed up decomposition. For leaves with a high tannic acid content, such as oak, chestnut, sycamore, birch, or poplar, it is advisable to add an additional four kilograms of rock flour or algal lime: even oak and walnut leaves will rot within a year. Leaf compost collapses strongly during rotting. Sufficient aeration is ensured by shredded brushwood.
Tip: The leaves of fruit trees, beech, maple, hazel, elm, lime, willow, ash, alder, and birch rot comparatively quickly. Chestnut, oak, walnut, sycamore, and poplar take considerably longer. Compost made from oak or birch leaves and pine needles is good fertilizer for bog beds, rhododendrons, azaleas, and blueberries because of its acidic pH. Detailed information is provided in our guide to proper composting.